Posted by & filed under City News, Inner West Independent.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has called on the Federal Government to boost support for general practitioners (GPs) who provide teaching and training to medical students.

As Australia’s peak independent medical body, representing over 27,000 doctors, the organisation said there was a need for the Federal Government to increase support for GPs who helped train the future workforce.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton urged the Government to increase the Practical Incentives Program (PIP) teaching payment, which he said had not been raised for seven years.

“The current PIP teaching payment, which is $100 per session and which has not increased since 2005, does not cover the opportunity costs of teaching,” Mr Hambleton said in a statement.

“The AMA recommends that the incentive be increased to $200 a session.

“The government says it wants more students to consider a career in general practice but it must increase essential support for practices if it is serious about meeting the objective.”

Mr Hambleton said general practices had a vital role to play in training the GP workforce.

“Medical schools are managing growing numbers of medical students and they are now looking to general practice as a more appropriate setting to provide medical students with a high quality training experience,” he said.

“Providing medical students with a realistic GP experience while they are at medical school gives them an insight into the unique rewards of life as a community family doctor.”

Currently, only 13.6 per cent of general practices and fewer than 30 per cent of PIP-accredited practices are involved in teaching medical students.

The AMA’s call for the government to boost in-practice GP training comes as Federal Health Minister and Member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek confirmed an extra 1,138 GP training places for 2013, in line with Government plans for an extra 5,500 GPs in Australia by 2020.